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Transferring designs to fabric for surface embroidery

Transferring designs to fabric for surface embroidery

We were recently asked how to transfer your own design onto fabric to embroider.

There are various methods:-

Iron-on Transfer Printer Paper is available for A4 printers at larger stationary stores. This is useful if you have your design as an image on your computer. You can easily 'flip' your image before printing to make it come out the right way on the fabric. This is semi-permanent so when embroidering you must take care to cover the outline with stitching.

Embroidery Tranfer Pencils can be used to sketch or copy a design outline onto tracing paper. This can then be ironed onto your fabric. These lines will usually wash out and may even wear off as you stitch.

Dressmakers Carbon Paper available in blue for light fabrics and white for dark fabrics may be used like ordinary carbon paper. Put the carbon between your paper design and the fabric, making sure it's very flat and weight around the edges. You have to lean very heavily with a pencil and this image is also temporary.

Perforation or Prick and Pounce is useful if the design is to be used many times, perhaps on napkins or at each corner of a table cover. Trace the design onto heavy tracing paper and with a thick layer of material behind, prick through the outline with a blunt needle making the holes as close to each as possible. When complete mount over your fabric and using a felt pad or blackboard eraser, rub powdered charcoal through the holes. Then paint around the outline with a fine brush and watercolour paint.

Basting Stitches in a contrasting shade can be used after first drawing or tracing the design onto very fine fabric. The fabric is pinned to the wrong side of the material to be stitched and the stitches worked through both layers leaving the design on the front of the fabric. Or work it through tracing paper and cut away the paper.

Tissue Paper with the design marked in felt tip pen may be used by attaching it to the fabric and embroidering through it. When finished the paper can be torn away.

If you want to work a counted cross stitch design on plain fabric, there is the option of using Waste Canvas which is removed by pulling out the individual threads when complete or Water Soluable Canvas in the same way which dissolves by soaking in warm water and makes a neater finish.
by Anne Peden on Tue, 26 Jan 2016, 12:00
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